On their full-length debut Absolutely Not, Philadelphia locals Lighten Up turn out the kind of fast-paced, 120-seconds-or-less hardcore of Paint It Black, Kid Dynamite and Static Radio NJ. Sure, vocalist Perry Shall recalls Aaron Bedard of Bane more than he does, say, KD’s Jason Shevchuk, but anyone who knows the many joys of CVA and Shorter, Faster, Louder should be down with the Lighten Up sound.
Absolutely Not’s 12 songs clock in at 17 minutes. Final track “Personality Implants” is kind of a waste, though. A five-and-a-half-minute tune featuring the same repetitive, chugging guitar riff, it recalls later period Black Flag, ya know, when they wrote one-minute punk songs that somehow stretched on for five or six minutes. But let’s give the album a mulligan. “Personality Implants” is at the end, so it doesn’t matter if folks are playing the album on CD or vinyl; they can still get out before things go wrong.
“Personality Implants” aside, though, the remaining 11-and-a-half minutes are pretty tight. The songs are all under two minutes – the humorous, hometown-referencing “Boyz II Wolves” is only 15 seconds – and they all pound out some fine hardcore fun. Sure, the tunes blur together a bit, but the album is so short that listeners should be able pick up the distinctions within an hour. Kid Dynamite might have done this style first, but Lighten Up does it justice.